Szymon Budny - notes that Latin text can predate Greek corruptions

Steven Avery

Szymon Budny is right - even if he took this information in the wrong direction. He is actually taking the Reformation Bible position on verses like Acts 8:37 and the heavenly witnesses.

Ironically, he sounds a lot like Bellearmine.

This Latin Vulgate error from Grantley is very similar to his saying that the Council of Carthage used the Latin Vulgate.

Symon Budny (1530-1593)

BCEME - p. 108
Amongst radical critics, Budny was unusual in arguing that the Latin Vulgate is often more reliable than the current Greek text, for it was translated before the Greek text had been corrupted by careless or malicious scribes.136

136 Budny 1574, C3v–4r, cit. in Frick 1989, 93; Frick 1995, 140.

Frick, David
A. Polish Sacred Philology in the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
‘The Uses of Authority and the Authority of Use: Philological Praise and Blame in Early Modern Rus´.’ Harvard Ukrainian Studies 18 (1994): 76–93.
‘Sailing to Byzantium: Greek Texts and the Establishment of Authority in Early Modern Muscovy.’ Harvard Ukrainian Studies 19 (1995): 138–157.


Did Budny say Latin Vulgate? Or Latin text (Old Latin)?


Polish Sacred Philology in the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation: Chapters in the History of the Controversies (1551-1632)
David A. Frick
A second group, he continues, knows that there are corruptions but believes that they exist only within the "competition": the Latins see falsifications in the Greek books, the Greeks in the Latin, and the Orthodox Slavs in all but their own.24
According to Budny, a complete correction of "the old falsifications of Marcion, the Homoousians, and other heretics" was impossible on the basis of the Muscovite manuscripts. Moreover it was, in his opinion, beyond the capabilities of the printers. "They did what they could," Budny writes, "for which others are in their debt, but these are still very small beginnings."53 Concluding his third point, Budny notes that he does not consider the Latin books "truly genuine." Rather, the Latin manuscripts seem to have fewer, and less serious, falsifications than the others. 54
These comments, Budny notes, apply to many passages, for the Latin version was translated very early, before the Greek text had been corrupted through carelessness or falsified by heretics; therefore it is often more reliable than the present Greek and Slavonic texts.57

p. 93-94
Here Budny turns to the third main goal of his preface: to determine in which language the manuscript tradition of the New Testament is more genuine or more pure. It is at this point he deviates most drastically from the accepted Protestant program. Budny admits that he too had long been under the mistaken impression that the Greek books were the most genuine of all, since the Evangelists and the Apostles (with the exception, Budny claims, of Matthew) wrote in this language. And indeed, Budny continues, "it would be true that there could be no books more genuine than the Greek books, if they were as pure even now as they were at first when the holy Apostles wrote them."99 But this is not true. In fact, in Budny's opinion, the Greek books have become the most corrupt. "The reason for this," he argues, "is the fact that almost all heretics were Greeks, arose in Greece, and lived there; and even if one of them happened not to be a Greek, he still used the Greek language."40

The Latin translation, Budny argues, is often more reliable in controversial passages than the extant Greek copies, because it was made at an early date from as yet uncorrupted Greek manuscripts. Moreover, this relatively pure translation was transmitted more faithfully, since the "Latins" had only one heretical sect and were "not of such quick wits."41 Budny's point is not to reject the Greek texts or even to suggest that the Vulgate should be the primary authority for translation. On the contrary, he notes that the Greek texts are not completely corrupt, and moreover that "a thing is clearer in the language in which it was written than in the one into which it was transferred." He objects rather to the general practice of correcting Latin readings according to the Greek.42


Sailing to Byzantium: Greek Texts and the Establishment of Authority in Early Modern Muscovy (1995)

Frick 1995 p. 140-141
I would seek one of the direct ancestors of Medvedev’s argument against Greek texts in Budny’s formulations (whether in their original context or as cited by Wujek and his editors). Budny and Medvedev used similar formulations in warning their co-confessionalists against their tendencies to
make a fetish of the Greek authority allegedly embodied in extant Greek texts. Budny had written that the Greek texts were the most comipt “because almost all heretics were Greeks, arose in Greece, and lived there; and even if one of them happened not to be a Greek, he still used the Greek language.”9 Medvedev may also have leaned on Budny when he argued that the Muscovites should not reject testimonies correctly translated from correct Latin books.10
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